Tuesday, September 1, 2015

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings have announced that they’ve signed former Toronto Argonaut Jalil Carter to a futures deal. This is their statement:

The Vikings have signed CB Jalil Carter to a reserve/future free agent after spending 2012-14 seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts and was a member of the 2012 Grey Cup championship team. Carter recorded 48 tackles in each of the previous two seasons with the Argos and added a career-best five sacks in 2014. Carter initially signed as an undrafted free agent with the St. Louis Rams where he attended training camp in 2011. Carter played safety his first 3 years at Akron before transitioning to WR for his senior season. As a receiver in 2010, Carter recorded 30 receptions for 412 yards and two touchdowns.

Carter is a bit of a speed demon, having run a 4.38 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, but without a lot of other physical traits (after adjusting for weight) to his name. Average-to-below average agility means he may be better suited to outside coverage (and at 6’1″ it’s possible), though the Vikings may simply be interested in his kick returning. There aren’t a lot of scouting reports on Carter out there because he declared for the draft as a receiver, and that’s what the Rams signed him as in 2011—not something he did in the CFL or evidently with the Vikings. Definitely someone to look at later and get a better picture.

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Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

[Note: Brad Davis found methodological disagreements with an article written by the ever-productive CCNorseman at the Daily Norseman, which suggested that Adrian Peterson was in for a decline based on his career numbers. Davis, who doesn’t take a stance on Peterson’s trade value in these pieces, ran through the data with rigorous statistical analysis—here are the results to part two of his study, answering some criticism. Part Three, which looks at 33 other running backs, will be up later]

In the first part of this blog post, I attempted to address the question of whether there was any evidence for a decline in Adrian Peterson’s performance as a running back during his career in the NFL up until this point. A number of people on here and elsewhere on the internet brought up a number of questions and I am going to take this opportunity to try and respond to the one I found the most interesting.

A user on reddit questioned the use of all 7.0625 (7 full seasons + the first game of the 2014 season) in trying to determine if there has been any decline in Adrian Peterson’s play.  Specifically they were concerned that by including all of the early seasons into the analysis could mask any recent declines in his performance.  This brought up a good point underlying the bigger question of ‘Which data/games should be included in the analysis’?

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman had a long press conference today, and talked (as much as he could) about Adrian Peterson. No matter what he said, it was going to drive speculation. In this case, I don’t think there’s much to be drawn on his press conference that lets us know whether or not the organization is thinking of keeping him or trading him, but that doesn’t mean it’s uninteresting. At the end, it’s worth remembering that Spielman actively attempts to keep his cards close to the vest.

There are a lot of bits and pieces from his presser you’ll hear, but likely the most common one is something that could be seen as a wink and a nudge towards a trade:

“I don’t know if there’s a team in the NFL that wouldn’t want Adrian Peterson on the football team”

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

As far as football experience goes, Birk certainly has an impressive resume.

A Midwestern kid from St. Paul, MN, Birk played high school football for Cretin-Derham Hall. He then went on to become an NFL draft pick, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, a Super Bowl champion, and currently works as the NFL Director of Football Development in New York City.

And it all started with the Minnesota Vikings.

Despite having an excellent college career at Harvard University and earning several first-team honors, the center never fully expected to be drafted in 1998. He instead mentally prepared to be a free agent, to simply find an invite to a team’s camp. However, Birk took an opportunity over spring break to work out with the Vikings; the rest, as they say, is history.

“You think, ‘there are 32 teams—what are the chances I’m going to play for my hometown team?’ […] The phone rang, and it was [then-head coach] Denny Green—he said they were going to draft me with the next pick. My name came up on the TV, and it was a tremendously special moment.”

Birk played two seasons as a backup for the Vikings before taking over the starting center position in 2000. In that first year, he started all 16 games and earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. Birk continues to call 2000 his most memorable season, as the team rebounded from losing some significant players and impressively finished 11-5.

With the exception of missing a season due to injury, Birk cemented himself as an integral part of the Vikings roster for a decade. In addition to Pro Bowl honors, the center was named All-Pro twice and Minnesota Vikings Man of the Year six years in a row.

Despite going on to finish his career with four seasons—and a Super Bowl victory—with the Baltimore Ravens, Birk remains tied to Minnesota. A part of Birk’s spirit will undoubtedly always wear the purple and gold, and he felt incredibly optimistic about the Vikings’ year, calling the 2014 season’s end “tremendous.”

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Welcome back Viking fans. Hopefully you have had a chance to take a look at the first part of this series, handing out the awards for Most Underrated Player and Rookie of the Year.  If not, take a moment to catch up!

Today, I wanted hand two additional awards: Most Improved Player and Play of the Year.

Let’s jump in.

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